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Africa figures prominently on India's foreign policy radar, says Krishna


March 29, 2011 - New Delhi

Emphasizing that Africa figures prominently on the foreign policy radar of India, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has said that the relations between India and African nations have blossomed into a multi-faceted association, where each one contributes significantly.

"Africa figures prominently on the foreign policy radar of India. I am happy to note that our relations have blossomed into a multi-faceted association where each one of us contributes significantly. Our ties with Africa go back centuries and have been nourished by close people-to-people engagement. We have been partners in struggle against colonialism," said Krishna in his remarks to African journalists.

"In the 21st century, we have moved to a new paradigm- one in which we seek to cooperate with each other to build a better life for our peoples. This partnership is anchored in fundamental principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit and has derived impetus from the resurgence of Africa and India's sustained economic growth," he added.

Krishna said India's partnership with Africa has been consultative and responsive.

"We have created a three-tier engagement with Africa: at pan-African, regional and bilateral levels. We have been guided by the wishes and priorities of our African friends in working together in institutional capacity building, human resource development, science and technological cooperation, enhancing agricultural productivity and food security, development of infrastructure, and in other areas," he added.

The External Affairs Minister further said that a series of new initiatives were announced at the first 'India Africa Forum Summit' held in April 2008.

"These include the establishment of four Pan-African institutions: India Africa Institutes on Foreign Trade, Diamond, Educational Planning and Administration, and Information Technology," said Krishna.

"Besides, ten vocational training centres, 5 human settlement institutes and 2 coal institutions are being set up under our partnership with Africa. The lead in each and every case, on deciding the location of the institution, was taken by the African Union, in consultation with beneficiary countries," he added.

The Minister also said that the number of long-term scholarships for African students in undergraduate, post-graduate and higher learning courses has been doubled.

"You all would be familiar with the Pan-African e-network project for 53 countries in Africa. It has been implemented so far in 43 of the 47 countries with which agreements have been concluded, and is proving effective in making available tele-medicine and tele-education facilities," said Krishna.

"It was decided to double the amount of Lines of Credit to $ 5.4 billion over five years, to give an impetus to infrastructure development including railways, IT, power generation, physical connectivity, crop diversification and capacity building in agriculture," he added.

Krishna said the second India-Africa Forum Summit is to take place in May this year.

" This time, as desired by our African partners, the Summit is being held in Africa at the seat the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. The agreed theme for the Summit - Enhanced Partnership-Shared Vision - manifests our common desire to further invigorate India-Africa partnership," said Krishna.

"The preparations for the Summit are in an advanced stage. I am highly optimistic about the outcome of this Summit towards fulfilling our shared objectives," he added.

ANI

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